Pain Relief Beyond Belief





From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.


Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?


Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.


For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.


Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words

I had the pleasure of attending last Saturday's performance of The Book of Ezra... a biographical tour de force written and performed by Leslie Ezra Smith and Directed by Mark Clayton Southers  and presented as the opener for the 12th Season of the Playwrights Theatre Company at its venue at 937 Liberty Avenue downtown.

The audience was transfixed as Leslie unabashedly performed his life in front of us.  It was a superlative performance and a powerful drama that literally draws you into his life=space as he experienced it and as he re-enacted it right in front of us.  Ezra received a tearful standing ovation from many of us.

You owe it to yourself to experience this play before it closes on October 25th.  You will be enlightened, enriched and truly moved by the experience.  Kudos to Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre for hitting the ground running with this season opener.


Ezra is a spoken word artist, Hip Hop artist, director, playwright, and event host and coordinator, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He is currently the host of The Eargasm Open Mic Series at the Hill House Kaufmann Center, Trifecta Slam at High Rollers Cafe and SAvoy Soul, Open Mic for singers and poets at Savoy Restaurant and Lounge.  

He was awarded the Poet of the Year award from the 2010 Pittsburgh hip Hop Awards.  He won AACTA Onyx Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance in Kuntu Repertory Theater's 2007 production of Sarafina!, and Best Lead Actor in a Play for his performance in New Horizon Theatre's 2008 production of "Freeman."  He tied for the Best Lead Actor Award for his performance in Ray Werner's "Redneck Revenge" during the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company's Theater Festival in Black and White in 2012.  Ezra is also an acting and spoken-word coach and site coordinator for an after school program.


He is a heavyweight and a force to be experienced.


Views: 144

Replies to This Discussion

Bring adolescent men to see this... it will surely spark a discussion. It gave me insight on the link between youth and hip-hop.

Yes. Me too.


© 2024   Created by Dr. Nelson Harrison.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service